Tag Archives: mining safety

Booyco expects further global proximity detection tech growth

Proximity Detection System (PDS) specialist, Booyco Electronics, says it is continuing to grow its global footprint, securing key relationships with miners and service providers outside of its native South Africa in the last half decade.

Having recently made export development a strategic imperative, the company is seeing enthusiastic uptake of its technologies, according to Booyco Electronics CEO, Anton Lourens.

“These are exciting times, where we are already doing business in Southern Africa, West Africa, South America and Australia, while seeing considerable interest from countries in Europe and North America,” Lourens says. “Expanding our footprint has been made possible by building strong relationships with experienced channel partners who serve and know these mining regions.”

Booyco Electronics’ journey into international markets began many years ago through its involvement with the Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table (EMESRT), Lourens noted. This global initiative of major mining companies guides best practice in minimising vehicle interactions and collisions.

With South Africa leading the world in regulating this space, Booyco Electronics was, and still is, able to contribute valuable insights to this global forum, it says.

“When we began designing our latest Booyco CXS generation of collision avoidance technology, we developed a solution that would lend itself to application in international markets,” Lourens says. “We then identified and engaged reputable partners who understand their customer base and are technically capable of supporting our innovative product line.”

The latest generation CXS system is a comprehensive and integrated proximity detection solution, taking a step beyond being just a warning system to become a “true collision avoidance system”, he says.

The first Booyco PDS system exported from the South Africa facility was installed in Madagascar about five years ago. This has been followed by further international installations in Ghana, Namibia (at B2Gold’s Otjikoto gold mine) and Chile.

“With our focus on developing safety equipment that ensures every employee returns home safely every day, we collaborate with responsible, diligent partners who apply their technical resources to realising that vision on individual mine sites,” Lourens says.

Key relationships have been established with Australia-based RCT, Ramjack Technology Solutions and Insucam. RCT has operations in 70 countries, Ramjack Technology Solutions provides system integration services globally and Insucam has a strong South American footprint, Booyco says.

“While our channel partners support the technology and the end customer, there is also significant value-add in our collaboration as our partners are already experts in automation, remote control and interfacing,” Lourens says. “Their experience in on-mine implementation opens doors to integrating our various technologies to the customers’ benefit. We can even incorporate their technologies into our solutions.”

Positioning Booyco Electronics well for its global growth is its familiarity with most mining environments, and its ability to address the various scenarios specified by EMERST in its protocols and guidelines.

“We have now been able to enhance this offering by adapting our machine displays and text to different languages to suit new markets, including our manuals and training materials for technicians,” Lourens says. “We also provide training – online as well as in person, where possible – to our channel partners. To do this, we leverage the power of video while also experimenting with innovations like body cameras for the more technical aspects of learning and on-site fault finding.”

Mining professionals in many countries are still relatively new to PDS, as regulations have not required the implementation of this technology previously, according to Lourens. This has led to Booyco Electronics focusing extensively on information and training tools that familiarise the international mining sector with the value of this technology.

It is clear, Lourens says, that PDS technology has much to offer mines globally, especially as mining operations seek digital integration that will continuously improve safety and productivity.

South Africa’s CSIR showcases underground mining safety technologies

South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is trying to improve safety in the country’s underground mining sector through the launch of a number of new technologies.

At an event held at the Mandela Mining Precinct, Johannesburg, earlier this week, CSIR showcased a robot able to assess and identify risks in underground mines, a ground penetration radar (GPR) solution, a personnel detection system and an early-warning and monitoring system called RockPulse.

Various stakeholders, including the Minerals Council South Africa, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Mineral Resources and representatives from industry attended the event.

CSIR is a primary research provider to South Africa’s Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) Centre of Excellence and has been looking into cutting-edge technologies to improve the wellbeing of miners underground.

The robot “platform” CSIR showed off is equipped with safety inspection sensors to enter mines during particularly dangerous periods. “Known as ‘Monster’ (pictured), the robot aims to assess and identify risks for underground mines,” CSIR said.

GPR, being researched as one of the South African Mining Extraction, Research, Development and Innovation (SAMERDI) Advanced Orebody Knowledge technologies, was also displayed. This technology contributes to the industry’s ‘zero harm’ objective by enabling miners to visualise potentially hazardous geological structures in the hanging wall that could lead to fall-of-ground incidents, CSIR said.

The personnel detection system uses a range sensors to determine the distance between each identified person, while tracking individuals to determine if and when a collision might occur.

RockPulse, meanwhile, will assist mines with measuring raw micro-seismicity, “extracting micro-fracture features and analysing the resulting series of features to detect large instabilities taking place in the rock mass in time”, CSIR said. This effectively provides an early warning system that mines can use to assess risks.

CSIR principal engineer Dr Shaniel Davrajh said: “The CSIR has core skills and competence in all of the strategic research areas of the MHSC from a safety perspective. The organisation has invested significantly in laboratories and continues to provide human resources for the provision of services to the sector.”

He said the body has offerings in support of occupational health and safety (OHS) in mining with infrastructure, such as mechanical testing, steel wire rope testing facilities, water laboratories and a self-contained self-rescuer testing facility.

Singh added that robotic technologies, such as Monster, were gaining traction in the underground mining industry by carrying out tasks and accessing areas deemed unsafe for mine personnel.

Principal geophysicist Dr Michael van Schoor said there was a similar need for the use of GPR technology in rock mass stability investigations.

“Managing health and safety risk in a mine requires real-time monitoring and quantification of the underground hazards and the exposure of personnel and equipment to such hazards,” he said.

ICMM launches Health and Safety Conference report

ICMM has launched the report of the Health and Safety Conference held in Santiago, Chile, in November 2012. The conference consisted of 19 companies and over 300 delegates including five chief executives. The report highlights the importance of collaboration, culture and leadership which was a common message heard throughout the 19 sessions that took place during the conference. The vehicle safety aspects of the conference were extensively reported in International Mining’s April issue, pp64-76. Continue reading ICMM launches Health and Safety Conference report